Field Report: Recycling Truck Sound Effects | Creative Field Recording

Garbage truck sound

Garbage Truck / April 3, 2020

Garbage Sound (Garbagescape)

sound installation by Polina Dronyaeva and Alexander Senko

Quotidian sounds of flies, garbage dumping and garbage trucks trigger dual emotions of revolt and deliverance.
GARBAGE SOUND is a sound installation which creates a sonic composition extended not in time but in space. The resulting work will only exist in visitors’ minds depending on direction and speed of their movements from one room to another.
It is not a simple representation of the garbage dump but rather evoking of emotions connected to quotidian sounds. While we stay neutral and don’t want to attach any additional meanings, we want listeners to contemplate on what these sounds might mean to them. The result will differ from one person to the other. Thus we analyse social construction of meanings in our everyday shared sonic environments.
For example somebody is dumping bottles in the middle of the night. God knows what a sad tramp is doing it but the resulting sound can be very cheerful. The flies may sound rhythmical and even energetic but they are always perceived as a symbol of decay.
Similarly one can be annoyed by the appearance and noises of garbage trucks, especially when they come to collect garbage in the early morning. But for someone this awful noise may be a signal that life goes on and whatever you throw away there is still someone out there who comes to tidy up after you.
The overpowering and methodical noise of the garbage truck is the most obvious expression of the city taking care of its dwellers, of each one of us, and it seems to be symbolical that this noise is heard in the hours, which are statistically considered the most dangerous for suicides. Who knows how many lives it has saved!
"Garbage Sound" soundscape stimulates people to re-evaluate meanings of everyday experiences and create their own soundscapes in their imagination.

The soundscape is extended through 3 adjunct rooms. On the premier we had a gallery consisted of rooms situated in circle. Thus the composition which the listeners perceived depended on their direction around the gallery. In the excerpt of the work we tried to demonstrate how would it sound if one moves from the room with flies sounds to the room with garbage dumping sounds via the room with garbage truck sound.
The real time programming environment Pd adds instability to the resulting composition which thus relies on interpretive capacity of the listeners.

Hardware and Software:
Apple 1.67 GHz PowerPC G4, RME Fireface 800
During performance there was used real-time graphical programming environment Pure Data (Pd 0.41.1-extended).
Logic Pro 8.0.0 was used for mixing of audio CD/DVD.

Ist part of the installation.
We recorded 24 short audio samples of garbage dumping.
Random number generators (RNGs) create series of sounds, time intervals between the sounds and time of the volume envelope between the loudest sound and the total release in each series.
Then RNGs randomly choose sound samples from each series and choose one of 3 tracks for spatialisation. Each sound is directed to its track.
On each track RNGs define random change of balance between the 4 audio channels. The time of change from one spatial position to another equals the release time of each series.
For additional colouring of the timbre we use pitch shifting. Pitch and volume level of the transposed sound is generated by the RNGs.
Mixed signal from all audio channels is directed to the Pitch tracking oscillator. The resulting sine wave is added to all audio channels. Its volume envelope is formed by the RNGs.
II part. “Garbage Truck”
A field recording of a huge garbage truck on the night streets of Lloret de Mar (Spain). In order not to make garbage collectors suspicious we had to pretend we were recording each other.
We added sounds synthesized in PD (sine) with random frequencies.
In the soundscape we prefer to use a prerecorded composition.
III part. Flies.
12 sound samplers of flies. In fact there was only one fly which we had to chase in the kitchen.
All sound samples went through nearly all the stages described above for the first part (steps 1-5) and reproduced in stereo format.
The piece can be reproduced either live in real-time programming environment or as a looped record of 10’58” duration.

Received Special Mention at 9th Festival International De La Imagen, Manizales, Colombia, April 2010